Blood Drive returns following record year

On Wednesday and Thursday, March 9-10, the Gustavus Communication Studies Department will hold a blood drive in Alumni Hall between 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. If students did not have the chance to sign up for an appointment already, they still have an opportunity to donate as a walk-in.

Last November, Gustavus had the most successful blood drive in its history. The campus community contributed a total of 198 donors and 41 Red donors, and each year the number increases. Due to the increase last fall, the Red Cross will be providing another unit of beds and nurses at the upcoming event so more students can have an opportunity to donate.

“Blood donors give the special gift of life. A single donation of whole blood can help save three lives,” Senior Communication Studies Major Michelle Tanner said.

Some platelet donations can help as many as two patients in need. Donors benefit in knowing that they helped maintain the community blood supply, which helps ensure that blood will be available when it is needed for family, friends and community members.

“This is an opportunity for students to save a life, to give a life. There is no greater power to have than the power to save someone. That is a powerful and beautiful feeling,” Senior Communication Studies and History Major Phil Helt said.

“I believe it’s important for everyone to give blood, not just students. A lot of people think that since a student-led organization sponsors the blood drive that only students can donate. This is not true. We invite the entire Gustavus community to donate—we want to see faculty, staff, administrators and students donating,” Tanner said.

Donating blood is a simple way to save lives.  Donors might not be aware of how much they are helping others. According to the Red Cross, someone is in need of blood every two seconds, so the demand for blood is always high.

“I believe it is important for students here to give blood because it really pays tribute to the Gustie notion of community. Not only are we contributors and givers within the Gustavus community, but we are able to reach across boundaries and help those who are in our extended communities as well,” Senior Scandinavian Studies and Communication Studies Major Chelsea Bowen said.

“Last November I stopped President Ohle in the [Market Place] and asked if he would donate, and he did! I hope to see him again next week,” Tanner said.

If students are planning on donating, they should be aware that even though the Gustavus community travels around the world, if students have recently traveled to certain places they may not be eligible to donate. The Red Cross is very careful about the type of blood they give to patients and don’t want to cause harm, but rather help.  If anyone is unsure or would like to check if they are able to donate, they can contact the Red Cross at 866-236-3276 for eligibility requirements.

“I think it’s fun. I’ve donated in the past, even though I hate needles, and I still think it’s fun,” Helt said.

The sponsors of the Blood Drive and the Red Cross recommend that students who want to donate blood get a good night’s sleep, eat a good breakfast or lunch, drink extra water and fluids to help replace the volume of donation, avoid caffeinated beverages and eat iron-rich foods to build iron level.

If anyone in the Gustavus community is interested or has questions about donating blood, eligibility or wants to learn more about the Red Cross, check out the website or call 1-800-GIVE –LIFE.